Monday, August 31, 2009
Sometimes inhabiting a fictional world makes me cranky and impatient. Other times, as I am building a fantastical world to share, it makes me joyful and hopeful.
Excuse me, but lately I've been in the cranky and impatient stage.
When I write fiction, I don't pull out the index cards and start plotting until AFTER my characters have started inhabiting the pages. I don't write the complete draft without some outline, but I like to start taking notes and writing to get to know my characters.
Sometimes my characters make me a little cranky because I can't quite figure out how the scenes are to play out. I have an idea in my head and characters to inhabit a storyline, but we haven't all quite figured it out yet.
For months, on this particular story, I have been taking notes, mind mapping, doodling and clutching a pad of paper to catch all my character and plot notes. In the other hand, I am clutching kids forms for school, my 2-year old and other real world reminders. Some days, it gets a little messy. So yesterday, I took a small break from my family (both real and fictional).
I went to the bookstore. I walked amidst the aisles of the books I hope mine will someday inhabit. It felt good to get away and remind myself that reading lives on (even for those without a Kindle) and to remember what it is I hope to accomplish. My crankiness subsided as I returned to my notebook, my research books and my family.
Even when in the throes of creating, sometimes it is restorative to to get out and away from all the projects demanding your attention and just have a quiet experience. Hopefully, it will chase the crankiness away and put you in a good mindset to plop into your writing seat, which is where I am now and feeling joyful again.

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and freelance writer. She also blogs at and, delving into creativity in everyday places. She appreciates your patience with her cranky start to the week.


Miss Footloose said...

You are excused for being cranky! As writers we all know how you feel and getting away is a good thing.

Our story characters may be fictional but they sure take on a life and a voice of their own. It's not fair that as writers we do not always have total godlike control over the worlds we create.

Have a good writing day!

Miss Footloose
Tales of the Globetrekking Life

Mary in MN said...

Nice to know someone else uses mind mapping for a writing project. Do you do it on paper, with computer software, or with a Web app?

Elizabeth King Humphrey said...

Miss Footloose and Karen,
Thank you for letting me be cranky.
I haven't had time to jump back in, so my crankiness has subsided, a bit!

I use a combination. Some projects just lend themselves to pen and paper, but I do enjoy technological mind mapping at times.
Do you have any sites or apps you recommend?

Thanks, ladies!


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